Lough Ree Access for All project 'humbled' to be among National Lottery Good Causes Awards finalists
Lough Ree Access for All in Lanesboro and Ballyleague is among the thirty-six community groups, sports clubs and organisations from all over Ireland who have been announced as finalists in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards.
Volunteers with the boat service for people with disabilities said they are ‘humbled to be selected’ among the six finalists in the ‘Health & Wellbeing’ category.
Also read: Longford parents concerned as ‘unsafe staffing levels’ are a severe threat on diabetes unit
The Lough Ree Access For All boat provides an adapted, integrated water based experience for people with disabilities for the very first time, allowing access for up to 8 wheelchair users at the same time.
The boat is the only licenced vessel of its kind in Britain or Ireland for passenger travel of this nature and working with its partners, Waterways Ireland and Inland Fisheries Ireland, Failte Ireland, Roscommon & Longford County Council & The Just Transition Fund of ireland, the Lough Ree Access project will improve access for people with disability to the rivers and lakes.
Yesterday, volunteers had the opportunity to inform RTÉ’s Nuala Carey and the National Lottery Good Causes judges about the Lough Ree Access For All boat service.
Volunteers are currently working with the HSE in a bid to reopen sailings in a safe manner while adhering to Covid-19 regulations and getting everybody out in the open once again.
Also read: Longford people invited to do Jerusalema for CF
The Irish Wheelchair Association are very supportive of the boat project. IWA said, “Many of our service users live alone and therefore the boat trips would give them a social outing, whilst also benefiting from being outdoors and in the fresh air. This is a fantastic opportunity for our service users.”
Prior to the news that they were among the Good Causes Awards finalists, Lough Ree Access For All announced that it has been approved for the appointment of a Manager & five workers to provide their service to people with disability by Pobal and the Department of Rural & Community Development for a new CSP (Community Services Programme).
CEO of the National Lottery, Andrew Algeo, said: “The Good Causes Awards allow us to shine a light on the outstanding work being done in our communities by extraordinary groups. Our aim is to recognise the exceptional contributions of our finalists and show the people of Ireland exactly what their participation and support in the National Lottery is achieving within their communities. We are all aware of how difficult the past year has been and how important sports clubs, organisations and groups are to our wellbeing. This truly is our chance to show our appreciation for keeping our communities going during such uncertain times.”
The judging panel is chaired by Lotto and weather presenter, Nuala Carey. Fergus Finlay, Columnist and Author, is also an independent judge.
Each national category winner will receive €10,000 while the overall Good Cause of the Year will get an additional €25,000 on top of this.
The winners will be announced on Saturday, May 29 at the Mansion House in Dublin (subject to public health measures in place at the time). The event will alternatively take place virtually depending on the guidelines in effect.
The six finalists in the Health & Wellbeing category are;
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice
Children in Hospital Ireland
Lough Ree Lanesboro Angling Hub
Naas Community First Responders
East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support